The One21 Essential 100 Pt.3

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2

josh garrels over oceans
Over Oceans
Josh Garrels

2006
Buy this album: Amazon MP3, iTunes
You are drawn in by the quiet acoustic music but you quickly wrap yourself in a musical and lyrical storm. This is a tour de force of folk, world, rap, electronic, spoken word theology by a brilliant musician who refuses to leverage his talent for fame or money. Over Oceans is Josh Garrels‘ first full length recording starts quietly with a beautiful ode to the beauty of God’s creation, “Fire By Night”. Later on the CD a rolling tumbling worship chant “Break Bread” should be a Sunday worship staple. The centerpiece is “SISU”, a six minute acoustically driven rap that lays out the beauty of core Christian theology more clearly than any sermon ever delivered.
Highlights: Break Bread, SISU, YHWH

Billy Joe Shaver- Victory
Victory
Shaver

1998
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Shaver is Billy Joe Shaver and his son Eddy Shaver, presenting the songs of Billy Joe Shaver in a stripped-down, acoustic context. Shaver‘s peers as a songwriter and singer include Guy Clark, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. His voice has a lot of Hank Williams Sr. and some of Woody Guthrie, and his tunes hark back to the origins of country music, with traces of rural blues. Spiritually based, Victory gives the listener a glimpse into the soul of Shaver through the songs he has written about his relationship with his Lord. A man of strong spiritual conviction, Shaver has lived a life that often put him in conflict with his religious beliefs. Victory includes Shaver classics, essayed with a stirring combination of weariness and wisdom (“Old Five and Dimers,” “When Fallen Angels Fly”), as well as classics-to-be. The newer songs (“Son of Calvary,” “You Can’t Beat Jesus Christ”) are filled with Christian imagery, but he doesn’t preach–these are songs of a man struggling to reconcile his faith with the wild life he’s led. Victory is a fine listen, both comforting and harrowing.
Highlights: Live Forever, If I Give My Soul, My Mother’s Name is Victory

Son Lux- At War With Walls And Mazes
At War With Walls And Mazes
Son Lux

2008
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
To say that Son Lux makes electronic music is like saying Daniel Day Lewis just acts; it just isn’t the full truth. Son Lux’s songs are complex, painful, and beautiful all at the same time. He takes sounds and then deconstructs them until they seem to explode out of the speaker and then evaporate just as fast. Pulling from genres across the electronic landscape such as trance, ambient, industrial, and breakbeat, At War With Walls And Mazes introduces the listener to strange and ever changing musical world, were words and music seem to be haunted by the ghosts of their own sounds. Singing parts warp and distort as they are being sung, beats abruptly stop only to return later in a song, but slightly altered. Every song is full of surprises, and you hear something different every time you listen. Son Lux has created and amazing and haunting masterpiece in At War With Walls And Mazes, one that seemingly has no equal.
Highlights: Wither, Betray, Stand, War

Monarch The Grandeur That Was Rome
The Grandeur That Was Rome
Monarch

2003
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Almost from the first note on Monarch’s debut album, The Grandeur That Was Rome, you are completely transported into the music. Monarch is able to wield atmospheric, ambient rock in a way that eludes most of their contemporaries. Every song builds in a distinct and focused way, allowing you to linger on every note before they all crash into each other to create the beauty that is Monarch’s sound. Then, at last, you reach vocalist Brennon Shaw’s delicate and haunting voice, driving the choruses and melodies to a place of pure serenity. The combination of these rock, electronic, and vocal elements is what makes The Grandeur That Was Rome…well, grand. Music seemingly written to be a soundtrack to everyday life, Monarch set themselves apart from their peers with an album of creative and gorgeous songwriting that many could only aspire to, but never are able to grasp.
Highlights: Talk Is Cheap/The Undefeated, Tracing Paper (An Argument), Now You See It/Now You Don’t

tobyMac- Momentum
Momentum
tobyMac

2001
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Who knew? Wasn’t a DCTalk fan so I didn’t know, but did anyone know that all the grit and drive of “Jesus Freak” was tobyMac? Bursting from the speakers with driving guitars, wild samples and layers of pounding drums tobyMac smacks us in the mouth with his first lyrics as a solo artist when spews his rap “Everybody, everybody in the place to be, Open up your mind and let your soul be free, I can feel the most High shining on me so… Let’s Get This Party Started”! Any questions about who was the muse of “Jesus Freak”?
Momentum is 14 songs of hard driving street Christianity metal hip hop, which samples both Buffalo Springfield and Wycleff Jean. And we do get the gospel stomp “JTrain” featuring Kirk Franklin. Momentum should be played loud enough to blow your speakers and bring the cops, but do it alone because you will want to silly dance. tobyMac’s first offering rivals anything Outkast has done.
Highlights: Get This Party Started , Love Is In The House, Somebody’s Watching